Last month, EPA Director Scott Pruitt announced a proposal to repeal the 2015 Clean Water Rule. This rule which defines “waters of the US” clarifies longstanding confusion about the water protected by the 1972 Clean Water Act, declaring streams and wetlands and millions of acres of small waterways—in addition to navigable waterways—eligible for federal protection from pollution. The rule safeguards our water and restores protections to drinking water sources for 1 in 3 Americans. This includes the drinking water for 1 in every 5 Indiana residents. The Clean Water Rule is a strong, commonsense policy that makes clean water a priority throughout the nation.
Now the EPA wants to roll back the Clean Water rule which restores, but does not expand, the historic coverage of the Clean Water Act. If repealed, at least 54% of Indiana’s stream miles and millions of acres of wetlands nationwide will again be at risk from pollution and destruction. We at Save the Dunes strongly support the 2015 Clean Water Rule and we hope that you do as well.
The EPA is accepting public comments on this proposal through August 28, 2017. Take action by adding your voice. Click here to comment on the rule– it will only take 2 minutes out of your day.
If you’re looking for reasons to comment or are in need of talking points for your comments, we encourage you to use the following:
- The Clean Water Act makes it clear that the EPA must “restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the Nation’s waters.”
- Before finalizing the Clean Water Rule in 2015, the EPA held more than 400 meetings with stakeholders across the country and published a synthesis of more than 1200 peer-reviewed scientific publications, which showed that the small streams and wetlands the Rule safeguards are vital to larger downstream waters. The rule was based on sound science, strong legal precedent, and a long and thorough public review.
- Over 800,000 Americans and 1,000 businesses supported the rule during initial public comment periods.
- More than 117 million Americans receive drinking water from sources that the Clean Water Rule protects (they draw supply from headwater, seasonal, or rain-dependent streams)
- Wetlands protected under the rule cover 110 million acres in the continental U.S., filtering pollution from contaminated runoff and recharging groundwater supplies. An acre of wetlands can store upwards of a million gallons of flood water.
- Small and rural communities, which rely on private wells or whose water systems lack the resources to deal with polluted sources, may be hit the hardest by the roll back.
- The United States has seen an uptick in water crises in recent years, involving toxic algal blooms, dead zones, micro-plastics, industrial chemicals, oil, and lead
- Clean water is essential to the outdoor economy. In 2011, hunters spent $34 billion, anglers spent $41.8 billion, and wildlife watchers spent $55 billion. Repealing the Clean Water Rule and weakening the Clean Water Act puts our economy at risk.
Source: Freshwater Future
For Frequently Asked Questions about the Clean Water Rule, click here.
Save the Dunes is a proud member of the Healing Our Waters Coalition.